Imeem About To Expand iPhone Music Storage By Way Of The Cloud

picture-58Easily my favorite app on the Android platform is Imeem. It’s simple, fast and powerful, allowing you to listen to a huge range of music for free. And now it’s coming to the iPhone, we’ve learned.

The Imeem app has already been submitted for App Store approval and could be released any day, we’re hearing from a reliable source. In terms of what it will offer, you can probably expect it to be about the same as the Android version. That means access to Imeem’s library of music and perhaps more importantly, access to your own collection of songs from the cloud, if you use Imeem’s upload service to put your music on their servers.

Of course, you have to pay for that. But if you’re willing to shell out $99 a year for their most premium plan, it means you can access 20,000 of your songs from your iPhone from anywhere (there are lower-cost version with less storage as well).That’s around 80GB of music, obviously a lot more than an iPhone or iPod touch can hold. But one tricky thing about this on the iPhone is its close ties with iTunes, which means that many of its users probably have some DRM-protected music, which won’t work over Imeem’s streaming service. But I assume the new iTunes Plus, DRM-free variety (which the entire iTunes store was recently converted to) will.

And I’m sure you’ll be able to buy new music you hear on the Imeem app with one click that takes you to the iTunes store on the iPhone. This has been working out pretty well for Pandora.

Cloud-based streaming of music makes a lot of sense. It gives you a single place to access your music from anywhere, without taking up valuable space on your devices. Lala is another service doing this with a still unreleased iPhone app that we got an early look at. It makes so much sense, in fact, that I suspect Apple will eventually get into this game as well. It almost has to with HD movies and television shows at some point because most people simply do not have enough storage space even on home systems to buy that content to their heart’s content — which of course, Apple would love. Naturally, Apple would want to have an option to pull your music off of the cloud to take on trips where you don’t have web access as well — that’s something that won’t work so easily with Imeem’s solution.

Imeem’s iPhone application will undoubtedly have another major downside that the Android version does not: The inability to run in the background. That’s one of the killer features of the Android version — I can turn it on and leave it on while I do something else. Compare this to Pandora on the iPhone which shuts off as soon as you exit it. Seeing as Apple doesn’t allow third-party apps to run in the background, that will be the case with Imeem too.

Still, given the range of music Imeem offers and this cloud-based option, I’m definitely looking forward to this iPhone app. The Android version actually won the Crunchie this year for Best Mobile Application — even beating out Pandora for the iPhone. Look for the iPhone version soon in the App Store.